Category Archives: Learning

Boy Books: Wonder

Have you ever wondered how to get your kids to understand that being different is not bad? Middle school is a stage where we all discover we are different. We all feel like the world is staring at us. We all feel less than. We all feel awkward, weird, funny looking, and uncool. But did you ever realize that everyone feels that way?

This month we are gearing up to head back to school. Some of us are excited, some are scared, some are a little of both. But if you have a child starting middle school or junior high and you want them to see that they are unique, they are strong, and they are beautiful inside and out; then you will want them to read this book.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

boy books wonder

Wonder by R. J. Palacio follows a middle school boy named August as he starts his first year at a mainstream school. Not only is August starting a new school —  a middle school — and going through all the changes the age includes, August is also special. August has some facial abnormalities that until now have allowed him to stay away from mainstream schools. But as he has gotten older his family, doctors, and teachers believe it’s time for him to mainstream.

The book follows August on his journey, and in the beginning, it is all in first-person. Readers experience the book through August’s eyes. We feel his feelings, and we experience his disappointments.

Soon readers begin to see the story through August’s classmates perspective, then his sister’s, and finally through his sister’s boyfriend. As the story goes on readers have the unique opportunity to see just what everyone is thinking and feeling. This opportunity is eye-opening. It gives readers the chance to see that everyone feels some of the same emotions and fears.

The book is on the best-sellers list and will soon be a movie starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. The story is so captivating and so mind-changing it is definitely worth reading; it just might change the way you and your kids think and feel about yourself, and others.

Wisdom for your Preteen: Mom Knowledge to Share with our Kids

We all love our kids. There is nothing we wouldn’t do for them. But as they get older it is more and more difficult to share our wisdom and knowledge with them. Especially in this age of technology when instant gratification is king. Our mom cards look very flimsy compared to what a friend saw on the internet. After all, if it’s on youtube it MUST be true. But the fact of the matter is, it usually isn’t.

Life gets rocky when you hit those preteen years, and those come earlier and earlier now. But there are a few tips we can share that might prove to be very important.

  1. Keeping the communication open with our kids makes a difference. No matter what never shut down a conversation. Let them know that even if you do not know the answers, or if the subject makes you feel uncomfortable, you are there to help them. Because if they cannot come to us, they will go to the internet or a friend. And we all know that it will not end well.
  2. The internet is FOREVER. Make sure they understand that once it is on the internet or in writing, it is there, and you CANNOT take it back. We also are more willing to put things in writing that we would never say out loud. It’s the nature of text. In the “old days”, we wrote in diaries and journals. The written word gives us anonymity, it gives us strength, and it eliminates fear. It gives us the freedom to say things we would never admit out loud. So when you talk with your pre-teen make sure they know that if they wouldn’t say it to someones face, they shouldn’t  write it down. If it isn’t something they would be willing to have handed back to them in 15 years and read in front of someone important to them (mom, dad, a spouse, their own kids, etc.) then it isn’t something they should write.
  3. Even though our friends may be cheering for us to do something and it feels like we are being validated for it, that applause and validation can be misleading. Even if someone is cheering you on the actions can still be wrong, harmful, or dangerous. Think about how you would feel if you did this in front of a parent, sibling, or grandparent. Would you still hear cheering if they were watching? Is this something you will be proud of when someone IMPORTANT hears about it?
  4. Labels are not permanent. You may be a popular kid, you may be a nerd, but those things are just momentary. They do not carry with you. They are not your identity. You will grow, you will change, the things that are cool now will not be in a few months or years. Everything grows, changes, and shifts. Try not to allow those labels change who you know you are. You may be good at sports now, but when you grow you may lose strength, you may have an injury. Those things will change how you play, how you interact. But they will not change how you treat people, how you learn, how you are motivated, or how hard you work. Do not let those labels make you feel small. They will not be around forever.
  5. Do not ever put someone else down. Everyone has their chance to be on top, and everyone has their chance to be on the bottom. The world is a giant spinning wheel. Remember when you are on the top who helped you get there, and who is currently below you.  Because one day they wheel will spin and you will not have control over how they treat you. Treat everyone well and when the wheel spins you won’t be fearful of the bottom.

Mom Hacks: Kids That Listen

Listening. That almost seems like a mom’s wishlist. It can be difficult, nay impossible sometimes to get your kids to pay attention to you, let alone actually have kids that listen and hear what you want them to do. With young kids, I find it is even more difficult. My toddler is especially hard, but my 5-year-old who usually listens well has recently begun regressing in the “paying attention” area.

Every child is different and it can be so hard to find what works for every child. What works for one of my kids does not work for another one of my kids. So I have learned to pick and choose my battles and to pay attention to my child’s specific needs.

Another tool I have found useful is changing the way I speak and listen as well. As an adult I don’t enjoy being told what to do, I like being told why I am doing something. So when I speak to my children I try to remember they are not inferior, they are not robots, they are people. They also happen to be smaller versions of me. So I keep in mind my own temperament when I try to address issues with them.

All of this can be hard to do when you are pressed for time, tired, or frustrated yourself. So Let’s remember to take a step-back and breathe. There are some fabulous strategies and tips on Youtube from Child Specialists. Try checking them out as well and adding what works for you and your family.

Here are a few great Youtube Channels:

Dana Obleman What to do when kids won’t listen

Ted Talks How to Get Kids to Listen  

Debbie Zeichner Gentle Tips for Getting Kids to Listen

We would for you to comment below with your strategies on how you managed to have kids that listen.